eMSX2++

by snout on 27-04-2004, 23:37
Topic: Hardware
Languages:

Source: HispaMSX

Just at the time a discussion arose on our forums about a potential new MSX mainboard , Leonardo Padial announced his eMSX2++ project on HispaMSX.

The eMSX2++ is a 100% MSX2+ compatible fitted on a very small 15x20cm mainboard. The project is still in development, but as of yet the specifications have been set to:

  • A Z80 processor capable of running speeds from 3,5 to 50 Mhz
  • A V9958 VDP
  • 512kB RAM, 128kB VRAM, 512kB FLASH memory
  • RTC (Real Time Clock)
  • PS/2 keyboard connection
  • Joystick port
  • Bi-directional EPP printer port
  • Cartridge slot

Please note that the system does not come with any sound chips (not even a PSG), nor a floppy drive. The specifications are of course subject to change during the project. The MRC will keep a close look on these interesting new developments.

Note: The average price of the eMSX2++ with this preliminary specs is 230 euro.

Relevant link: Padial Hardware

Comments (44)

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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28-04-2004, 00:28

This sounds really interesting Smile

.... btw. did I say "sounds" ?? So ...... why NO SOUND ???? Sad

By Sonic_aka_T

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28-04-2004, 01:02

I think he assumes that by now we know the tunes by heart Smile

By snout

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28-04-2004, 01:11

Indeed... soundchips are essential, I think most of them can be emulated through FPGA. Also, I'm wondering how a V9958 is going to cope with a 50MHz Z80.

By ricbit

Champion (438)

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28-04-2004, 01:23

Also, I'm wondering how a V9958 is going to cope with a 50MHz Z80.

That's why the Z80 has a pin called "/wait"

By BiFi

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28-04-2004, 08:45

Padial made a combination cartridge with SCC, OPLL and PSG. Strange they didn't plug that one in as well Wink

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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28-04-2004, 09:41

I don't think it's to bad that there is no sound onboard.

If people want sound they can buy a soundcard, or not?

This way the board will be as cheap as possible, and a lott of people have already soundcards.

But I agree that if someone wants a 'complete solution', it would be cheaper to put it on board. But if I look at his soundcard I see for every soundsystem a seperate chip (PSG, SCC and MSX-musix) so much cheaper will it not be.

So I prefer the optional sound solution.

By karloch

Prophet (2066)

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28-04-2004, 09:54

By the way guys, the price of the eMSX2++ is 230 euro, at least with this "preliminar" specs.

By AuroraMSX

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28-04-2004, 10:04

Hm, 230 euros is pretty steep, if you'd ask me. And eh... an MSX without PSG is not an MSX.

By wolf_

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28-04-2004, 10:22

I tend to agree with the fact that ppl already have soundcards.. buying things you already have is a bit of a waste of money..

By BiFi

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28-04-2004, 10:24

In that case: I have a V9958 so I won't need that and same goes for the 512 KB RAM, 128 KB VRAM and 512 KB FLASHROM. Smile

By BiFi

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28-04-2004, 10:25

And I've never seen an external PSG cartridge for MSX since all MSX computers have PSG internally anyway... So I think at least the PSG should be added to the config.

By wolf_

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28-04-2004, 10:39

well, psg ok .. I was actually referring to an fm-pac, scc, musmod or opl4 .. since those are cartridges that you can plug-in. Unlike a 2+ videochip.. So, to keep the price low, I wouldn't add an fm-pac/msx-music to that board, ppl have all those chips already..

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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28-04-2004, 10:45

At least it isn't 100% compatible...maybe 95% or so Smile

I wonder what the performance will be. I hope that he can boost the VDP a little bit.

offtoppic: Is it possible to overclock the VDP? and how much could it be overclocked, 5%,10%,20%?
And maybe some faster vram for some extra speed... Smile

Is something known about the timeframe?

By wolf_

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28-04-2004, 10:47

o.t.o.h.... a superb new great fab soundcard might not be such a bad idea.. something beyond the current msx soundcards.. I don't think that option would be that very expensive, but it greatly improves the platform's power. *if* that's possible I'd be glad to help in the design of it.. ^^:

By mighty.m

Expert (116)

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28-04-2004, 12:24

we've already seen a lot of hardware extensions... none off them except MoonSound were bought by a lot of people? Why, I wonder.... Wouldn't it be great if we all had a GFX9000?

By BiFi

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28-04-2004, 12:30

Well, Gfx9000 is still for sale, so what's keeping you? Wink

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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28-04-2004, 12:33

I agree, the hardware extention the would really have an impact would be an upgraded VDP (at least more speed). This in combination with a powerfull z80 @ 50 Mhz (eZ80?).

The basic/main system should be powerfull. All other hardware extentions can be implemented with 'external' plugin cards like a soundcard, IDE, USB, etc...

But the main system (CPU/VDP) should be (more) powerfull than the existing MSX-Turbo R....I think Smile

By yakumo

Expert (74)

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28-04-2004, 14:13

I also think the big problem is not the z80 speed but the vdp speed. As for the GFX9000, I think it is very near. At least is already payed, as it is Bombaman special edition and some other games.

See ya ppl.

By karloch

Prophet (2066)

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28-04-2004, 14:25

Padial has a sound card that comes with PSG+SCC+OPLL+512kB Flash. May be that if this hardware were inregrated on the eMSX2++, it would be more complete...

By BiFi

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28-04-2004, 16:39

Ehrm, didn I say that already? Wink

By flyguille

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28-04-2004, 18:06

maybe he also want to sell the sound card And his slot expansion, too. Some things are made thinking in the business.

I agree, as a basic configuration need a PSG. If not, is not MSX 100% compatible.

By sunrise

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28-04-2004, 18:56

Even Padials business mind fails.

First you get (almost) nothing new for your money. Only the ps2 keyboard support.
Although everyone who says I cannot use a moonsound or GFX is wrong cause there is a cartridgeslot.
Second Padial doesnot think how to get several parts such as vdp9958.
VDP's in general are hard or even not to get varying from 9918 till 9990 as flyguille stated and entirely correct. And Padial fails the money to put several copies on the market, if there is one for this kind of board without any new thingy
Third , finding someone who want to distribute ...

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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28-04-2004, 21:34

Sunrise:

Why so negative?

Quote:'First you get (almost) nothing new for your money'

ehh..what about a Z80 @ 50 Mhz? You find this not a new important feature?

Quote:'Second Padial doesnot think how to get several parts such as vdp9958.'

How do you know this? It sounds like an assumption...

Quote:'And Padial fails the money to put several copies on the market, if there is one for this kind of board without any new thingy'

Again, how do you know this? Are you his accountant?

Qoute:'Third , finding someone who want to distribute ...'

Partly I agree, but he has at least his own site as a distribution channel...and maybe some other channels...you don't know for sure..

Judging your reaktion Sunrise is not willing to distribute this thingy?

Why so negative...that many new MSX computers (okay, maybe not 100% compatible but nevertheless..) are not produced...

Has it something to do with the 'one-chip' MSX proto-type? Okay ..this is an assumption...but this is the feeling that I get when I read your post...

By sunrise

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28-04-2004, 21:56

First of all only a ez80 can operate at 50 mhz. A z80 not ! Unless you put it on a FPGA ,and padial doensot work with fpga otherwise he managed to a compacter board
And our coming ethernetcard work with a ez80( so a little experience with that and availability how to get it).
See our site !

Padial works maximum with a z380 that can operate maximum on 20 mhz , since Zilog ensured me that tey will not takt the cpu at 33 mhz.
From seeing the project of z380 in Madrid and spoke with padial !
Also not mentioned is the ram , perhaps simms.?
Well open your old pc and solder yourself?

No I am not his bookkeeper , I am glad for that I am of Sunrise bookkeeping and have experience with finding components ,getting it and order it.
The Ese project is far more realistic as well as Brazilians CIEL 3++ since that projects are based on fpga for parts you can easily put in fpga and complete with spareparts that you can easily get.

By sunrise

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28-04-2004, 22:01

So , thus no unless he managed to use FPGA for spareparts you cannot get such as the VDP9958 in a way that you can provide around 750 people, based on the succesful ide-story of us !

By sunrise

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28-04-2004, 22:05

And we operate in series of 25 max.

By msxinfo

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28-04-2004, 23:24

Sunrise wrote: "Third , finding someone who want to distribute ..."

MSX-Info Blad is still the official Padial hardware distributor in Holland. If people are interested we are willing to test the board and start distributing it. The main problem is that we offered lots of new Padial hardware the last few years and asked frequently if people are interested in buying it. Only a couple of people actually contacted us that they were interested. That is a too small bases for us to start distributing. We cannot order 15 to 25 boards and sell only 3 or 4 of them. We don't want to make profit out of it, but we don't want to lose money on it. If we test the board and think it's stable enough and we get lots of requests (say 15 to 25) then we are willing to go on with it. Usually we can reduce prices when placing larger orders.

By snout

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29-04-2004, 00:20

msxinfo - please do keep us posted on the hardware you can potentially distribute. Perhaps we can help you getting enough pre-orders to make things worth the efforts. It would be a shame if you lose money on these kinds of projects.

By sunrise

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29-04-2004, 06:39

Why did you left the stuff at home than last time msxinfo.
But no one can buy the vdp9918 till v9990 in a large quantity msx-info and therefore it , most unfortunate will fail
Even ourselves and that is what I want to make clear, that almost every project doesnot look at the future. Do I have my stuff to put away in a couple of months
I tried several times to convince Padial.
He cannot even supply a keyboard interface working on a Sony 700p.
I wait for that almost four years since I needed that one and one of the best projects of PAdial

By msxinfo

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29-04-2004, 08:47

I agree with Rob that Padial's designs should be more flexible towards the future. In fact we (MSX-Info Blad and Sunrise) had various discussions with Padial about this. We had talks about a combined keyboard/mouse board and even a new videoboard. Cooperation stranded because Padial wants to stick to his own designs using mostly a Z8 microcontroller instead of a flash type controller like Sunrise uses. Using a Z8 is not very flexible, because when new software is needed (like f.i. another type of keyboard) then you have to replace the Z8.

In my earlier post I was merely stating that Padial is not really in for adapting his designs if we can only sell 3 or 4 of them. And to Rob: we have shown the EV4 slotexpander and the LPE Z380 at fairs for the last 2 years but not on the last fair in Tilburg (you can ask Rinus why not). Like I said, there are only 5-10 people who really bought it. We gave exstensive info about it in our magazine, so people should not complain that we did nothing to show it.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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29-04-2004, 09:11

Sunrise:

I agree that the most hardware of Padial is to expensive and not wide spread in the MSX-scene.

And maybe you even right about the parts that he needs to build a large quantity of this boards.

But I must say that if it was possible to buy a new MSX2+board with a eZ80@50Mhz for about 200-250 euros I would buy it.

I think that the ESE-project has indeed the most potential.
But you must admit that Padial is one of the few that really finalised a new 'msx-computer'.

So give him some credit..

By the way, I never heard something about a working Ciel3++ board.

By sunrise

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29-04-2004, 11:47

Ivke, If you read the newspost careful you see that Padial only defines specs
Realised project, I donot see that board on his page.
I gave already credits to the possibility to use any kind of z80 compatible processor,cartridgeslot.
If you look at our projects you will see that we are even in favour for the ez80.
The things I am arguing at are the VDP , and that is valid for every project and not meant for padial only and type of the ram isnot defined.
Better said the ez80 of our project might hopefully lead to the mainboard you propose by ourselves and the price is realistic you propose.
If padial would be open and can realize the vdp part ,such as ESE is working on .
Than I can say, he makes an opening move.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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29-04-2004, 12:51

I was refering to the Z380 board.

But I agree with your comments in your last post.

It's a pitty that he is not open for a 'FPGA solution'. Hopefully someday it will change.

Development time could be much shorter if the development effort could be devided between several teams.

Please keep oup the good work!

By yakumo

Expert (74)

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29-04-2004, 14:03

Quote:
By karloch on April 28 2004, 14:25
Padial has a sound card that comes with PSG+SCC+OPLL+512kB Flash. May be that if this hardware were inregrated on the eMSX2++, it would be more complete...

I have to say that this sound card does not come with PSG, SCC nor OPLL. You have to get the chips by yourself.

By Sonic_aka_T

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29-04-2004, 17:12

Can you FPGA an R800? Or is it too complex? Because what I hate most about using Z80's is that you have to go up to about 30MHz to get to the speed you'll get on a normal 7MHz R800. It would also be a shame if some software specifically written for R800 could no longer be used...

By BiFi

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29-04-2004, 18:27

msxinfo. Did you pass over my complaint or 'bug' regarding the 4MB mapper in the turbo R already? Would be great to be able to use it without the slot expander.

By msxinfo

Supporter (16)

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30-04-2004, 09:42

Bifi,

I have send you an e-mail just now concerning this matter. We will try to solve the problem. It's better not to do that in this forum.

By karloch

Prophet (2066)

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30-04-2004, 17:47

That's true Yakumo... If you want that board you have to get the sound chips first...

By flyguille

Prophet (3029)

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02-05-2004, 02:16

in which gallery game come with this chips?

maybe we can visit to old galery machines work-shops looking for this chips.

a obsolete game mobo, is cheaper and got VDP and sounds chips.

By iamweasel2

Hero (524)

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08-05-2004, 00:21

well, just my two cents in this subject.

I bought a CIEL3++. I believe there are some big problems that a new advanced MSX will have to deal, if we want it to be accepted in MSX community, and to be worth the long wait for a new MSX. A new MSX should be of course fully compatible with the msx1/2/2+ but it should also bring new things. Not only a fast processor, but a new vdp, fully compatible with the v9958, but with new screens, faster, etc. IMHO, it has to run all our classic msx software. We don't need another PC, we need a new computer that, while powerful , with new hardware (USB, ethernet, z380, whatever) can run all my old msx software. That's why I bought CIEL3++. Ademir said CIEL3++ would be full compatible with old MSX software. And yes, I agree that fpga is the key to all components problems. And it would be easier to make new msx machines even more powerfull with time.
But there's a question left. Even if someone makes a new msx, with screens 13,14,15, millions of colors, megabytes of ram and a cool soundboard (could be moonsound), the problem is, will the msx community adopt it ? Or will we have a new MSX made in Brazil, a new MSX made in Japan, a new MSX made in Spain... All great machines, but all incompatible with each other ? What's the point in that ? I don't want to make this message even bigger than it already is, but there should be a standard, discussed by all the talented msx users in Brazil, europe, japan, which would be used to develop a new MSX. Is that a dream ? Yes, I think it is. In fact, I believe it is easier to do a powerful MSX than to make all these great guys cooperate to set standards for a new hardware. I don't want to start a fight about this, but I can't imagine Ademir Carchano talking with Padial and Ese, sunrise and all the others about a new standard. It would be really great, but I don't think that will happen... Or do you believe it is possible ?

By anonymous

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08-05-2004, 02:00

We all know it would be best if there was cooperation between Ademir, Padial, ESE and Sunrise, but we can be sure there will never be any ^^;;;
Even ask different MSX users what they want and they will tell you different things. Now imagine the ideas these MSX hardware developers have... :/
I think the users will decide which system they will buy and which will get adopted.

By iamweasel2

Hero (524)

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08-05-2004, 04:32

Yes, I agree with you. But that's too bad, because we know what will happen ... Users won't choose a single system... in that case, things would be set. What will probably happen is, Brazilian people will choose CIEL3++ (mostly because they are the people that helped projecting it), european will choose Padial's hardware and some european and japanese will choose ESE. In the end, we will loose what we have until now: a standard. We are all MSX users because our machines, no matter where or who made them, follow the MSX standard defined by ASCII. But in the future, we won't have it anymore, Brazilian software (like the new Uzix) won't run in the Padial machine, and european software won't run in Carchano's hardware.

By anonymous

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08-05-2004, 14:05

While the comparison isn't totally accurate, things like this are not uncommon in the MSX world.
Take for example MIDI. A lot of european software supports Philips Music Module MIDI, Japanese software mostly supports MIDIsaurus and MSX-MIDI...
So to run all these softwares, you need all 3 of these devices.

Or what about MSX-MUSIC and MSX-AUDIO standards?

The same would be true for new MSX extensions... Several new MSX's will be made, with different features. But at least all of them are MSX compatible, so current software will run on them.

I think most new software will only make use of the faster CPU speeds, so even new software will run on CIEL3++, eMSX2++, ESE FPGA project and even current MSX2 ot turboR computers.

By Sonic_aka_T

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09-05-2004, 01:59

I don't care what they make next, as long as it has an R800 in it. Well, it's okay if it can 'emulate' an R800 and is just as fast - well, ideally it'd be faster. Whatever they come up with next *has* to be Turbo-R compatible. Well, in my humble opinion at least. And *please* have the common courtesy to put a VDP with descent pattern modes in it. Though I guess for standard's sake a V9990 would be okay...